Parents are likely experiencing some extra anxiety about back to school for their children this year. While the future remains uncertain, mindfulness exercises can help parents greet these challenges with calm.
The pandemic has created many unknowns and changes in the world — and education has been no exception.
“Educating children is stressful under normal conditions for many families — under these new circumstances the stressors are manifold,” said Angela Gala, co-founder and executive director at Youth Meditation in Charlotte.
But Gala — who teaches mindfulness-meditation to students, teachers and parents in public and private schools and non-profits — said these practices can offer parents some anxiety relief.
She offers some simple mindfulness tips to parents currently experiencing high levels of pandemic-education anxiety.
Find a quiet place where you can sit with your back up straight with legs crossed or in a chair with feet on the floor. Set your timer for 10 minutes and close your eyes. Take eight deep breaths in. Sit quietly until your timer goes off. “That is all. It is simple,” said Gala. “If your mind is racing, don’t worry about it. Just notice it.
It will take a little practice for it to settle down.” She also recommends finding a mindfulness-meditation coach for extra guidance, or even trying an app like Headspace.
You can use deep-breathing techniques to help relieve immediate stress. Gala said to make sure to breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth and breathe from your diaphragm, not your chest.
Let emotions pass.
“If you are feeling emotional and have the option to wait to respond or make a decision — then wait,” said Gala. “Wait until you can be objective before engaging.”
One of Gala’s key mindfulness tips to parents is to become more aware of how they interact with their environment.
“Recognize what you bring to your relationships,” said Gala. “Do you bring peace and calm or do you bring tension and anxiety or anger?”
Remember to have a good time. “We must play and have some fun in our lives, otherwise we take ourselves too seriously,” said Gala.
Gala said mindfulness and meditation practices can offer many potential benefits for daily life.
“It is an easy, universally relatable practice that gives us freedom from stress,” she said. “It improves our health, our relationships and our ability to see the world as it really is instead of through the lens of the stories our minds tell us.”
Looking for more wellness tips? Stay tuned to our Health section for more news and advice.